Onstage Cataclysm: The Play-within-the-Play in Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Art’s manipulation of reality informs Frederick Kiefer’s essay. In Thomas Kyd’s Spanish Tragedy Hieronimo avenges the death of his son by staging a play wherein courtiers responsible for the murder are cast as characters in a revenge drama. Their stage deaths turn out to be real. This idea of reality manipulated by theatre is then applied to Lyndon Johnson’s use of the fictive Tonkin Gulf incident to justify a military buildup in Vietnam and to the “Weapons of Mass Destruction” perpetrated by the Bush administration as an excuse to attack Iraq.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPlaying with Reality
Subtitle of host publicationDenying, Manipulating, Converting, and Enhancing What is There
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781000556445
ISBN (Print)9781032154640
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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